Jul 31, 2013

A commoner reviews Middendorf’s, Manchac, La.

This is going to read more like a glowing endorsement than an objective review, but in all honesty I've never had less than extraordinary food here.  And I come here almost as often as I make it to New Orleans. 

Middendorf’s is located just off Interstate 55 in Manchac (or Akers, as their mailing address uses), La.  It’s on the first of two exits as you drive southbound over the bayou.  As a town – and I use that term loosely – Manchac has more homes reachable only by boat than car.  Fortunately, you’ll find Middendorf’s in the “heart” of Manchac on old U.S. Highway 51, right before the bridge rises over Pass Manchac, a channel allowing boat traffic to go between Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchatrain.   

As you might imagine, Manchac itself is very scenic, has a feeling of being very much off the beaten path (a small building that serves as a St. John the Baptist Parish police station is located behind Middendorf’s restaurant), and is very much surrounded by water.  As my friend Tom Woolsey, who is very familiar with the area, once said, “It would be a great place to hide a dead body.” 

Jul 28, 2013

Random roadside observations: Louisiana and Mississippi

I've been meaning to share some memories from my recent road trip to Louisiana and Mississippi (notably Vicksburg) with the Young Curmudgeon.  I had promised such a trip to him for his high school graduation present, and it delivered countless memories and father-son bonding moments. 

Of course, long hours on the road produce varying levels of boredom while on the interstate.  I usually much prefer the roads less traveled, but sometimes you have to acquiesce to time constraints if you want to maximize your time at any given location.  Still, those stops along the way, mundane as they may seem at the time, can yield some interesting memories.

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...